From Lichtenberg’s Waste Books, no. 11 in Notebook E in the NYRB edition:
Nothing can contribute more to peace of soul than the lack of any opinion whatever.
And a bonus, no. 66 in Notebook D:
When a book and a head collide and a hollow sound is heard, must it always have come from the book?
From Lichtenberg’s The Waste Books (D.18 in the Hollindale translation):
The thought still has too much elbow-room in the expression. I have pointed with the end of a stick when I should have pointed with the point of a needle
Reminiscent of Walter Benjamin’s oft-quoted observation on Proust:
There has never been anyone else with Proust’s ability to show us things; Proust’s pointing finger is unequaled.
Which, for contextual honestly, should for once be quoted in critical fullness:
Something that is manifested irritatingly and capriciously in so many [of the Proustian narrator’s] anecdotes is the combination of an unparalleled intensity of conversation with an unsurpassable aloofness from his partner. There has never been anyone else with Proust’s ability to show us things; Proust’s pointing finger is unequaled. But there is another gesture in amicable togetherness, in conversation physical contact. To no one is this gesture more alien than to Proust.
Selections from Notebook B of Lichtenberg’s Waste Books (in the NYRB edition translated by Hollingdale):
Every man also has his moral backside which he refrains from showing unless he has to and keeps covered as long as possible with the trousers of decorum
He was so witty that any thing served him as an intermediate term for comparing any pair of other things with one another.
He had outgrown his library as one outgrows a waistcoat. Libraries can in general be too narrow or too wide for the soul.
People often become scholars for the same reason they become soldiers: simply because they are unfit for any other station. Their right hand has to earn them a livelihood; one might say they lie down like bears in winter and seek sustenance from their paws.
If I should ever produce an edition of his life, go straight to the index and look up the words bottle and conceit: they will contain the most important facts about him.
We begin reading early and we often read much too much, so that we receive and retain large amounts of material without putting it into employment and our memory becomes accustomed to keeping open house for taste and feeling; this being so, we often have need of a profound philosophy to restore to our feelings their original state of innocence, to find our way out of the rubble of things alien to us, to begin to feel for ourselves and to speak ourselves, and I might almost say to exist ourselves.
How did you enjoy yourself with these people? Answer: very much, almost as much as I do when alone.
To learn how to teach and test yourself brings much comfort and is not as dangerous as shaving yourself; everyone should learn it at a certain age for fear of one day becoming the victim of an ill-guided razor.
The description of wit is the best I’ve ever seen.